|Today||2023年3月20日 - 2023年3月24日|
Living Long & Living Strong
|19|| I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; NKJV |
God has given to all of us a certain number of years to live. Before the flood, humans could live hundreds of years. My theory is that the ‘firmament’ that the Word talks about that covered the earth was an amazing cloud cover. It protected the earth from the sun’s harmful rays and created a tropical type of environment as it trapped the incoming rays. I believe this is why scientists have discovered ancient tropic plants and animals all over the world. The earth was like a big comfortable tropical paradise.
Where did all the flood waters come from to cover the earth in water during Noah’s time? How could it rain and rain? The Word says the flood waters came from the firmament and the depths. I think the earth was quite different before the Flood. All this water that flooded the earth came from the cloud cover that was above and from the water table below the earth. What does that have to do with you and me?
Interestingly enough, after the flood, the life-spans of people born after the flood got shorter and shorter. This is my theory about why people lived longer before the flood, we may never know all the details. One thing we do know is that you and I can live to a certain age. What is that age? Genesis 6:3 says,
And the Lord said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."
On a flight back from Los Angeles, I picked up a book on nutrition that I read on the plane. It was written by two medical doctors. It talked about how important it is for us to eat right if we want to live well and long. One interesting point that they made, and that I will never forget, is that the human body is made up of cells. Those cells are designed to live hundreds of years. However, for some reason at about … you guessed it… 120 years… the cells start to shut down.
I did a bit of research and found that the oldest living people of our recent generations live to 119 or 120 years of age. At the time I found out about a woman in France who was at 119. Isn’t that amazing? You can live up to 120 years if you take care of yourself. What is so important about long life? Check it out,
|6|| With long life I will satisfy him,|
And show him My salvation."
Long life is satisfying. Long life is a testimony of God’s goodness to you and I to the people around us. So do you know what I decided? I decided, I am living my 120 years. I am going the full route. We’ve got to realize that how long we live is based on our decision. It’s our choice. We just read in Deut 30:19-20 how we have to choose life.
We have to do are part; eat natural foods (not processed), exercise regularly and strengthen our physical hearts, but most importantly, we need to seek God with all our being. Do you want to live long and strong? You can if you want. It’s your choice.
As He Is
|17|| Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. NKJV|
The cool thing about God is that He doesn’t expect us to do things that we are not equipped to do. He does not send His people out into to desert without water, a weapon, a camel, or a map. He does send you into the world without the tools to overcome. He always provides a way. Moreover, if you want to see love in its purest form, then look at God. Why? God is the origin of love. If you don’t understand love, you won’t understand God, but if you don’t understand God, you will never understand real love. God is the origin of love.
What about Jesus? We know that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of sin, sickness, and death (1 Peter 2:24), and that He made us into righteousness before God. Isn’t that amazing? Even though we are far from perfect, the blood of Jesus has cleansed us and made us perfect before Him.
|1|| John talks a lot about love, but recently I have been chewing (meditating, thinking about) on the statement of because as He is, so are we... That is powerful. As He is, so we are too! Ask yourself, how is Jesus. Is he buried in a slum somewhere? No, He rose above his humble beginnings in a carpenter’s house. Is He dead and buried? No, He is alive and well, speaking and working in the lives of His people.|
“As He is, so are we…” that is awesome. You don’t have to be discouraged because He is not discouraged. You don’t have to be poor, because He is not poor. You don’t need to suffer, because He took all our suffering (Isaiah 53:3-5) and is not suffering. You don’t have to be depressed because in God’s presence is fullness of joy! As He is, so we are.
Negativity is contagious. When you are around people that are always talking about bad things, always seeing the downside and never the upside, you can catch it just like a cold. Some people will tell you Jesus suffered so you have to suffer as well. Hogwash. Don’t buy that! If Jesus suffered for no reason, if you are supposed to accept what ever comes, why does Jesus teach us to pray, Father ‘Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…’?
You and I are to be light in the darkness, salt to the earth, above and not beneath, the head and not the tail, the lender and not the borrower, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and God’s own special people.
If you feel you are in the spiritual valley today, don’t stay there. Pick yourself up and be like Jesus, because as He is, so are we in this world. We have the victory!
Making Right Choices
|19|| I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; NKJV|
Being a minister is not a job for the faint-hearted. You get a chance to see all sorts of things. As a minister your job is to encourage people, teach the Word of God, and show people how to live the victory the Jesus won for us when He came back from the dead on resurrection day (also known as Easter).
To me, Resurrection day is the most important holiday of the year because if Jesus did not come back from the dead, then there is no point of being a Christian. Jesus did rise from the dead, and we’ve got unbiased historical evidence (a Jewish historian of the time, Josephus is one of many sources) to prove how the world changed through this little group of believers which now numbers in the millions of committed believers world-wide.
However, when you are in ministry helping out at your church, you really see that life is all about choices (definitely help your pastors as they need your support). God has given us all a life to make choices. What we are going to do with it? In Deuteronomy, we see Moses making it very clear. He asked people to make a choice, follow your own way and be cursed or follow God’s way, be blessed and be blessing. Once you know about God you really have to choose whether you are going to serve God or are you going to serve yourself.
Most churches have so many people coming and going. It breaks my heart to see these people that come occasionally to church and wonder why God is not doing more in their lives. They wonder why their children rebel. They wonder why they have marital problems. They think God is not faithful because they are financially struggling. People, we need to find a good church and be there every Sunday. It is the father’s responsibility to make sure to get his wife and kids to church. If the wife will not come, then the husband needs to be there every week showing his children that he is putting God first.
If you practice with champions, you are more likely to be a champion. Our church is very strong on faith. We are also strong on giving as God wants us to be good stewards with our resources. Countless times I have had people come to church asking why God is not blessing them. One question usually mutes their question immediately, “Are you regularly tithing to your home church?” The answer has always been “No” or “I do when I can”.
People are wondering why they are not blessed financially or in their job. The answer is clear, they chose not to give their first fruits to God and so He cannot bless them. In fact, when we don’t tithe, Malachi 3:8-10 says we are actually robbing God. Tithing is a choice, and actually what you do every day is your choice.
We make a major choice when we choose a certain job, a certain spouse, a certain place to live.. Most of the things that happen to us each day are because of the choices we have made. We also have to make choices each day, “I feel an itch in my throat”, will I fight it or just accept it? My boss has treated me harshly, will I try to get even or do more by praying for his or her salvation? I am very upset about what my spouse said to me, will I shout back or pray that God make that person to be more sensitive to my feelings?
Life is about making the right choices. Most of our troubles are caused by making the wrong choices. However, when you believe God and are committed to Him each day, you will start to see Him working in your life if you let Him. He will give you wisdom if you ask Him. But you have to choose who you are going to serve.
Tired of making wrong choices? We all have done it. Draw closer to God and He will help you make the right decisions and live a full and abundant life.
The Good Steward- Applying Yourself
|4|| So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. 5 So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. NKJV|
Growing up in America, we have this so-called American Dream that says we should have a house, a car, a healthy family and much more. After World War II, many people worked very hard and attained that dream. However, with time it is really easy for us to get lazy and just think we deserve something because the neighbour has it. Governments may try to implement socialistic platforms such as this, but this is not how God’s Kingdom or His law works. You have to prove yourself.
You’ve got to be a good steward. A steward is someone who is responsible for managing, allocating, and using other people’s things that are entrusted to them. If you want to do more in God’s Kingdom you have to be faithful with what you’ve got. You can’t complain about being born into a poor family, being abused as a child, your husband or wife, your bad job, your living conditions. Start where you are at. Joseph is one of my two favorite men in the Bible. He went from the favorite son of his father who got whatever he wanted, to a young man sold into slavery in a foreign land with nothing.
He didn’t whine or complain and wallow in his situation. He worked hard in his situation and loved God with all of his heart. He was a good-looking guy and he was blessed because he was a good steward. We know his heart was right and this was his strength and will be ours as well. Several times his boss’ wife tried to seduce him. He replied,
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" Gen 39:9
He stood up and did the right thing and God blessed Him even more. He eventually became the top guy in the country just under the king.
When you are entrusted with things, you have to remember that God is the ultimate owner. I am sure that Joseph’s boss was very pleased with his faithfulness. As a believer, Yahweh blessed the fruit of Joseph’s labor because he kept a pure heart.
God has entrusted you with various things. Be a good steward of what you’ve got. Once you have proven you can handle small things God will entrust you with bigger and greater things.
The Eye Of The Needle
|27|| But He said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." NKJV|
I have heard so many people share this story of the Eye of the Needle and say, ‘See, rich people can’t go to heaven’. If that were true, then wouldn’t that make God unfair to limit rich people from heaven? We have to be certain that when we hear people make comments like this to make sure they are taking the Word in context.
We are supposed to love God with all we are. Deuteronomy 6:5 says
5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. NKJV
God loves you wholeheartedly, and He desires that we return that love to Him. God is love. Picture this, a religious guy comes to Jesus and says He wants to follow Him. The guy is probably from a rich family, because the Word says he has wealth. This rich leader came to Jesus expecting to be commended or honored as that is what he was used to receiving from people. He was known because of his possessions. However physical things don’t matter in the Kingdom of God so much. The question is not what you have it is who you have. How is your relationship with Yahweh?
Jesus tested this guy because He knew His heart. The guy said he has obeyed the law, but we all know that no one is perfect. So Jesus challenged him saying, okay, then all you have to do now is give away everything you own. The guy left there with his head down because he didn’t want to do that. If he would have just shown that His relationship with God was more important than his goods, the story would have changed. His response disappointed Jesus as well.
When he left Jesus said, it is more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven than you can imagine. His illustration was that of a gate called ‘The Eye Of the Needle’. It was a gate within a gate. At night, cities would close their gates to protect from attack. Individuals would have to come in one by one through a smaller gate. You would have to demount the camel, unload all the luggage, and lead the camel through the little gate on it’s knees. Once on the other side of the wall, you would carry all your luggage through and eventually reload it on the camel on the other side. It was a lot of work for the traveller to bring the camel through the eye of the needle if they arrived at a city after dusk.
Jesus’s statement shocked His friends as they thought he was saying it was impossible for rich people to get into heaven. He clarified by saying that nothing is impossible with God. God is not a respecter of persons. He sees all of us equally. When we confess our sins, repent, and turn from them He sees us as perfect because Jesus is perfect. His blood has washed us clean. However, we have to be careful that our earthly things don’t become spiritual baggage that holds us down and prevents us from attaining His plans.
God wants you blessed so you can be a blessing. He doesn’t want you tied down by what you have. He wants you to use what you have for His glory. Tithe to your local church, give to those ministries that are helping people, become a giver and watch what you have increase. That is God’s plan as He wants people know that He loves them and has a wonderful plan for them.
Don’t Get Devoured
|8|| Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion,seeking whom he may devour. NKJV|
Before starting our church, I visited many churches. There is such a need for spiritual-filled churches in our world. If you want religion, it is easy to find the Cultural Christians, the churches that are dead and boring. My wife trusted me as the head of the family, and although I wanted her to come along she couldn’t bear the thought of having to be around those people drowning in tradition and lacking in power.
We visited many churches around the greater Tokyo area. My children and I visited a church on the South side of Tokyo. Although we visited many churches, I will never forget this experience. It was a beautiful building all light and pretty. They sang the old hymns and they tried to do it with zeal. But there was just something wrong.
As the guy next to me shared his hymnbook with me and sang loudly with some zeal, I asked Yahweh “What is wrong with this place?” His replied, “I am only here because you are here”. I was shocked as it seemed like a real church with a pastor, choir, and a bunch of people coming together on a Sunday even talking a bit about Jesus. When I got home, I did some research on the group and found out this group was a Christian cult.
A cult is a group of people that becomes introverted and exclusive. In this particular case, this group said it in their actions by saying, if you did not accept Jesus and get baptized in their church, then you weren’t ‘saved’. Beware of people that say they are the only true church of God or way to God.
One week later, my children and I visited another church. They sang the exact same old hymn at this other church, however this time I sensed the Holy Spirit in that place. Although, this church was clearly not of strong faith, you could tell they were sincere and loved Yahweh. What was the difference? The other church was a cult.
A cult is exclusive, saying they are the only way to God. They usually convince people that there is no life outside of their one group. Most of the time, they start to bleed their member of their finances. Well, God is not like that. He speaks to various people in various ways. There is no perfect church but this type of problem has been around. Paul says in 2 Cor 11:13-14
|13|| For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. |
Find a good church and be a part of it, be there regularly and give your tithes! But that is not what it is all about, give you time, give your love, encourage people, be a blessing to someone (give them someone nice), teach the children, get into the Word daily, pray in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit. My goal is to tell someone about Jesus each day and invite them to church. God wants to take you to the next level, but you have to make the response. He is not a controller, He is our Father who loves us more than we will completely understand.
Today I encourage you, to go for Jesus with all of your being. When you know Him, He will guide you and give you wisdom so that you won’t be devoured by the enemy. For greater is He that is in you. Hallelujah!
SHOUT It Out!